Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Howard's Onion Juice and Garlic Juice

I am back. I must currently admit, for the average consumer of food products the amount of "inspiring" items out there is very slim. Shame on  you inventors, quit making my iPod smaller and how bout making cryo-vac machines cheaper, or the size of an iPod nano that would be an interesting article. I came upon the onion and garlic juices earlier last week on the old Food Network. It was some show where the host was watching some guy make a marinade, he began by pouring in a gallon of what he called "onion juice". He never described it, he just said "if you aren't from this area you wouldn't know". I checked my map, I am not from his area, I didn't know, I moved on.
I spent days looking for something to write about. I was furious, I could not find a thing, oh look a waffle maker that makes cupcakes that taste like steaks. No wait, I am blinded by rage and I am hallucinating. I give up, I am going to the liquor store which happens to be across the street from a grocery store. Set out on a mission to buy pickle making supplies I walk down the aisles and see these two little guys. "A replacement for fresh and dried garlic" ok I will play.
These are not just juices, apparently they are more like brines; the respective aromatic, white vinegar, and salt. I had thought what the guy had used in the show was just juiced onions, which I had done before for tofu marinades (don't ask). This seemed more like a regional thing, an actual product that could be purchased. I will play how to use it? Dressings? I am angry I don't want lettuce. Sauce? Keep it simple, I need something to put sauce on too much work I am lazy. What should I use....hmmmmmm...BINGO
I do not just buy the super lean stuff that most markets try to sell, I found this blend. This is "meatloaf blend": veal, pork, and beef. Good fat content, nice color, good bind, I will credit these butchers they did good work on this blend. I am going to keep this simple and just lightly flavor it, so here you go
1 1/2 lb meat, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 2 tsp each garlic juice and onion juice
This is simple stuff, no mango chutneys with apricot foam and parsley gelee, I want seared meat. So I make patties.
I know you know how to make patties, hopefully. I just like to take pictures because they take up space
Great sear, I credit the butcher, hopefully they taste great
I am going to eat this plain, no buns or sauces. I want to taste what I put into these little guys, also yes I froze 3 of them. I have a gluttony problem, I should have been in SE7EN, WHAT'S IN THE BOX?
Ok, I over cooked them, not too badly, they're still juicy
Wait, that is a pork and veal blend, they will not stay pink unless raw especially ground. I may have cooked them right, I taste. BAM! Wow! This is tasty. Onion and garlic, are not strong flavors but there is a level of meatiness umami (see previous blogs) that make me giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl. Nom Nom Nom, OMG LOL MSG! PIKACHU!. That is a great burger, I can tell it is not just the straight meat I am tasting. I am definitely tasting the additives. This is nice.
These little vials do not just add in a flavor of onions and garlic, they add a savory aromatic flavor that is hard to replicate using raw ingredients in a pinch. I would highly recommend a line chef having this just laying around, if needed in a pinch, or make it a standard. The home cook use it as a flavor kick and impress your friends. I am not suggesting replacing the real thing, to get the strongest flavor and texture use those, for an additive use these. Order them online, they are quite pleasant. This is a good discovery, I am no longer mad, until I go looking for my next big find.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Filippo Berio: Spray Olive Oil

Hey, they can not all be crazy new inventions, I'm not made of money
I have been looking at these in the grocery store for sometime now. Thinking, "Hmmm this is 5 bucks and filled with potentially not very good oil and I could go to Sally's Beauty Supplies buy a spray bottle for 2 bucks and fill it with my own good oil." Well I finally caved and bought it. Not so much as because I like the product but I like the idea. Sorry this is not a blog about the new thing that turns cotton candy into a weight loss beverage with the abilities and well endowments of your choice, it is about a pump spray bottle with olive oil in it.
I do not dislike PAM spray or in the case of the professional kitchen Vegelene, I use it for spraying all sorts of things. Including and if you tell anyone I will deny it and you will meet Jimmy Hoffa, lightly spraying items to be toasted or grilled quickly rather than dirtying up a cup and some brushes to coat some bread. Again...Jimmy Hoffa. I bought this for the same reason, not for non-stick purposes but to lightly coat food items. Ready for the excitement, what fantastic amazing item is Robert going to grill up for his eights of readers???
HAHA...Belgian Endive...I'm poor...sigh

So, I sprayed some Belgian Endive and sprinkled it with my favorite multi-purpose seasoning SPIKE. I also did not pay for the endive it was given to me to emphasis the fact I have no money. Now what amazing way will I cook these, sous vide? inverter microwaves? green non-stick pans? Nope, are you ready!
I did not pay for this either, I think my sister gave it to me, or I stole it. Notice the SPIKE, mmmmm.
Yes, I grilled it on a George Foreman. Shut it, they work well for adding some grill marks in a pinch. George had it right by selling these to the public, they have been around forever, in Italy, they are called panini grills, or panino if you want to get technical. Here is the proof:
Sure looked grilled to me, and they are cooked, and if you count them, they are tasty
The spray was fine enough that it covered it quickly and evenly. As you can see there was good heat transference because of the grill marks. It worked. So it is a good idea. Now here is the low down. This is a one shot deal, they rigged it so when it is empty you need to buy another one. Go to a hardware store for a large one, or a beauty store for a small one. Then go to the grocery store, you have one of those right? and buy your favorite oil that will not smoke and ignite if you are going to cook it (pure olive oils, canola, sunflower, etc), or the best tasting one if you are going to just serve it (walnut, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, or if you are rolling in the dough white truffle, then call me), finally pick up eggs, Zebra Cakes, and Diet Mountain Dew for me. Do not mix and match bottles, dedicate them, because oil leaves flavors and smells behind. Do not stop at oil; vinegars, wines, syrups, and liquors will all benefit from being finely misted on to food. Now you can say "Oh I added a essence of XO cognac to my turkey sandwich on Wonder Bread" Spritz anything, your imagination is your key.
I also can tell you that it works fantastic as a non-stick spray as well. My eggs came out beautifully for breakfast the next what if it was at noon it is still breakfast. Buy your own bottles and add a touch of professionalism to your own kitchen. You can also tell your "I am opposed to chemicals" hippie friends that you did not use propellants...but secretly add MSG from my Umami Paste blog to get even and have the last laugh. Maybe next week I will have more money to talk about something more intriguing to the masses. Until then work with some basics and quit crying about it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Robert Kristof Brand: Domestic Ghetto Sous Vide Cookery

I know it has been a while...again, but I made a promise to myself when I started this. I would not force it, oh look I found pink sea salt wow that is the neatest thing ever and I want to tell the world to use it. That sort of crap. This wonderful contraption makes baby food OH MY GOD...wait so does a brick, some soft food, and a microwave, and then a larger brick. This episode is about something neat...MEEEEEE! LOVE MEEEEE! This is my domestic sous vide cookery, this is my setup:
This looks like a pot, a range, a fish bubbler, a thermometer, a microwave, and some surfaces in need of scrubbing....DING DING DING You WIN!
Allow me to explain sous vide for some of you, culinary friends go surf the Facebook or search for the next "I'm on a boat" while I enlighten others who didn't pay $40,000 to learn about this. Sous vide means "under vacuum" which means it is in a air deprived environment, in this case a plastic bag. The traditional way of cooking it is submerged in water that is set to the precise temperature that you want the food cooked to, you want a medium steak set it 140F and drop your bag in. Now after a while you will pull it out and there a steak that never got about the temperature that makes beef medium, slight difference from cooking at 500F the outsides cook faster than the insides. Now chefs have been using industrial vacuum sealers and lab equipment water circulators. Total cost: more than my car is worth (about $62.50) and my yearly rent ($7200) combined. I did it for less than $200.
Vacuum Sealer, about $150 bucks, they make better ones, but I cannot resist the shiny blue light, and I had a Target Card
Seal the food, I did bone in pork chops:
You can sear them before or after if you desire color, since these are being par cooked and saved I did it before, because I will not be there for the final preparation
Place it in the water and let it ride. Now what of the fish bubbler, about $12, that is in the pot because the water is heated from the bottom. In order to make the temperature completely even I added the bubbler and place it at the bottom, now it it pushes the hotter water all around the pot and the temperature stays even. That is what the thermometer is for, thanks for asking, I would love to explain it. I keep it towards the top, just on top of the item being cooked, it is the coolest at that point. Set it and forget it, we miss you Billy Mayes, thanks for leaving us with Slap Chop Guy. Get yourself a good calibratable (is that a word?) thermometer, a quiet fish bubbler, deep pot, water (this is key, you need water), vacuum sealer, and a steady stove (induction or electric work best), and lots of patience (which I have none, hence my car being worth $61.00 (it depreciated since I last mentioned it)).
Chefs love to use this technique for fancy stuff, foie gras, compressed watermelon, baby seals, live owls, that sort of thing. I use it as a catering tool, I can cook 203035 steaks (slowly, I only have one stove) to rare with some seasoning, butter, rosemary, garlic, wine, etc, chill it and store. Then when the time comes I start opening bags, grill or sear, and they will all be medium rare, I do not care if you want it medium well, that cow died for you do not kill it again. It was a hypothetical so back off. 
So...LOVE MEEEEEE!!!! I just need to tag this with some sweet graffiti, spinners, and a boom box. Then call Pimp My Sous Vide then it will have an HD tv installed. Thank you Xhibit! and Billy Mayes!